Evan Baer, a serial entrepreneur and author of Get Backed, was asked the question during a panel on raising capital, “Where is the best place to get money?” His capital-hungry audience was shocked by his answer: “Customers.”

Imagine having a skill that could bring interested customers straight to your website. Invaluable, no? That’s why the Crowell School of Business has been training students in mastering Search Engine Optimization.

With 3.5 billion searches per day, Google’s reach for businesses with websites is virtually limitless. Of course, on the other side of these queries in Google are thousands of online marketers competing for the top spots. The competition is fierce, and Google’s algorithms are always shifting -- sending some websites from page 1 to no-man’s land.

That’s why we asked Steve Wiideman from Wiideman Consulting Group to come and speak on this topic in Dr. David Bourgeois’ Digital Business class. Steve has been in the trenches of the online marketing world for nearly 20 years and his work has caused him to stay on the cutting edge of Google’s algorithms.

Steve covered a whole gamut of SEO-related topics, but if there was one overarching theme in his presentation, it would be the significance of a visitor’s experience. SEO was once a game of how many keywords could be stuffed into the text of one’s website, along with how many other websites could “vote” for yours by having your link on their website (regardless of quality or relevance).

Google since has shifted from rewarding nonsensical keyword stuffing and now even penalizes ranking for having “bad links” linking to your website. To paraphrase SEO Steve, Google is in the business of giving the most relevant content for what the user is looking for. Google has and will continue to penalize those manipulating Google’s algorithms, and the more your website offers relevant content to what the user is looking for, your website will rank in the long run. Create valuable content, get credible websites to share it and reference you, and be useful to users searching for keywords you want to rank for. You can find a clip of Mr. Wiideman’s presentation in the video below.

Teaching our Business students SEO is merely one of the many ways the Crowell Business School is evolving. Through opportunities like the Biola Startup Competition and hosting Praxis Academy, new programs such as Business Analytics, Financial Management and Financial Planning, and bringing in cutting edge experts to speak on the most relevant topics possible, we as a program strive to fulfill Business as Ministry by equipping students to become exceptional business men and women for Jesus Christ.